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Columbo is the title of a long-running series of crime fiction TV movies that aired from to 1971 to 1979. It starred Peter Falk as police lieutenant Columbo, in which he played the title role of a shabby, apparently slow-witted police detective. Columbo, however, inevitably solved the cases he worked on by close attention to the tiniest weak points in a suspect's story, hounding him until the point of confession.

The series is noted by TV critics and historians for the way it reversed the cliches of the standard whodunit story. In a typical murder mystery, the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the climax of the story, and the hero uncovers clues pointing to the killer. In an episode of Columbo, the audience sees the crime unfold at the beginning and knows exactly who did it. This allows the story to unfold more from the criminal's point of view, rather than that of Columbo himself. The real star of the story is the criminal, and the audiences watches as he (or she) frantically tries to cover his tracks, being hounded by the persistent police lieutenant at every step, until he finally slips up and Columbo catches him.

From 1989s[?] through 1995, the Columbo series was revived and an additional number of successful TV movies[?] were produced, documenting the further detective adventures of Lieutenant Columbo.

A spin-off TV series, Mrs. Columbo, was aired in 1979, but it received a dismal reception and was swiftly cancelled.

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